Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

thumb pick

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by valleyartsman, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. valleyartsman

    valleyartsman Tele-Meister

    Mar 16, 2005
    how many players here play a tele with a thumb pick? i am one of those players. i found that i can get along better with thumb pick.

  2. titus

    titus Tele-Meister

    Oct 22, 2004
    Yup.....I do.

    It was hard to get used to, though. I've always been a flatpicker, but couldn't get the hang of hybred (sp?) picking. It took a few months of on and off use to learn to handle the different pick dynamics (they're so much thicker). I love it now....I have the option to use fingers, pick, or both.

    Rospo likes this.

  3. Darrell

    Darrell Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Started from scratch that way in 1996

    Been a thumb n fingers ever since. Took me a long time. But worth it. I find stuff all the time that I just could not imagine doing any other way.
    Synapse2k likes this.

  4. valleyartsman

    valleyartsman Tele-Meister

    Mar 16, 2005
    the fiddle player in our band is always trying to get me to use a flatpick because he said that its easier to play chords and rythem with it but what does he know he's a fiddle player. all the best players use a thumb pick brent mason steve wariner jerry reed. thats just to name a very few. i found it is easier to play rythem and pick with a thumb pick but thats just me.

  5. OutlawSteph

    OutlawSteph Tele-Meister

    Feb 1, 2004
    I think Brent uses the thumbpicks that are shaped like a stardard Fender sized pick. I think Herco makes them. I like those but can't find one small enough for me. I use a regular National thumbpick on my acoustic but doesn't sound right on my Tele because it's too thick.

  6. Ericwest53

    Ericwest53 TDPRI Member

    Jul 30, 2005
    Portland Oregon

    After twenty years of trying to find "just the perfect" blue Herco out of a bunch, and having it get harder and harder to find, I tried crafting my own for Pedal Steel Guitar.

    I shoulda done it years ago.

    I tool a tortoise Dunlop, cut it down for width, plopped it in boiling water until it became limp, took it out and formed it the way I wanted it.

    Golden Gates also go limp in boiling water and can be formed easily after being trimmed to the desired shape.

    Tightened a little bit more, and cooled, they work best.

    Hercos or Nylons, it doesn't work with, and don't try a lighter.

    I've found that my tele and strat like Fred Kellys thumbpicks.


  7. twangee

    twangee Tele-Meister

    Dec 13, 2004
    I have tried and tried to get used to a thumbpick. I split my time between flat pickin and bare fingers.

    The thumpick sort of leaves me guessing which string it's gonna hit. I have even sanded down the end of the pick way back to get the pickin edge closer to my thumb itself ,so maybe I would have a little better feel and control. No luck there.

    Then I have the problem with sweaty fingers makin it spin around on my thumb. I can use my thumb with no pick just fine, with it is another story. But, everytime I step on all the ones I have and break em, I still head right back to the shop for new ones. Why? I have no idea.

  8. titus

    titus Tele-Meister

    Oct 22, 2004
    Heehee....found that one out while trying to shape them.
    Those babies just about explode.....wheee.

    I have to admit that I do spend some time reshaping
    the things. They're usually too thick or too tight, but with some sandpaper, hot water, and a few spare minutes they're okay. Nationals, Dunlops, and
    Golden Gates seem to work best.
    I imagine it would be impossible to make a thumpick
    to please everyone....too darn many different shaped thumbs and all.


  9. rcliffg

    rcliffg Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003
    I prefer a thumbpick in so many ways, but single string stuff is misery with them, for me. I use the flesh of my fingers for hybrid and non-thumb thumbpicking, and I CANNOT get an even sound or any speed built up on a single string.

    For me, single string = pick. I wish I could find a way around it, but I'm about to give up on that...

  10. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    My experience exactly....except that I don't buy any new ones. I've just given up.

  11. Johnir

    Johnir TDPRI Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Trondheim, Norway
    I've mostly been playing acoustic blues with finger and thumbpicks the last 6 years so when I've started playing electric country again recently I've been shifting between thumb and a flatpick style.

    I can play faster runs with a flatpick and the sound is... smoother, but when I thumpick, I can do more steel bends and other simultanousely note picking.

    I tend to snap the strings with my fingers more though when I use a thumbpick. This resulting in a spikier harder tone. I have to tame it with a compressor, but sometimes I feel the flatpicking style is more smoother.

    I use a Fred Kelly slick pick. I find other picks too thick and heavy for electric guitar. The picking end is shorter and rounder than most thumbpick too. It also sits good on my thumb.

    When playing hard acoustic blues I often tapes down the picks to prevent them flying off while playing.

  12. beez

    beez Tele-Holic

    Dec 30, 2003
    Peoria IL
    I'm trying to learn to use the thumbpick for ......

    Chet Atkins/Paul Yandell type stuff, as well as for some of the old Jerry Reed type instrumentals. The thumbpick makes a big difference in getting a good loud boom-chick bass going.

    However, for electric playing, I still use a flat pick and two fingers.

  13. swijak

    swijak TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Buda, Texas
    Can't live without my thumbpick

    I've been playing with a Herco Flat/Thumbpick for about five years when a fellow guitar/steel player recommened them when I was learning lap steel. I use the Heavy gauge and trim the "point" so it only extended 1/4" past my thumb. My playing style has completely changed; I can hold it flat pick for tremolo picking and strumming and then fingerpick with all FIVE fingers... My style is now different from most players, but that is not always a bad thing...


  14. goyo4400

    goyo4400 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

    Jul 16, 2004
    Fort Valley, GA
    me too!!

    I've been using the thumbpick only for over a year now. Started in an effort to learn hybrid style...which hasn't exactly worked out yet. But I found that with hot water, sand paper, and my trusty nippers I could customize shape and fit that allows me to play both rhythm and single note runs. Brought a definite improvement to my LH technique because I don't even have to think about my RH anymore.

  15. jdfoosh357

    jdfoosh357 Tele-Holic

    Oct 7, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    if your playing is stuck in a rut.......thumbpicking will give you a good jolt. but you have to be very patient.

    i use Fred Kelly brand....white ones. over half of the thumbpicks out there just aren't suited for electric guitar, you have to find the right one for you. i use a pair scissors and sand paper to make a semi-sharp point at the end. this is a big you better pick dynamics.....think about the solo on zztop's Lagrange.

    the main thing you'll struggle with at first is single note picking, you'll miss strings. but that's because you're basically starting over again, and it takes time to get back where you were before. don't give up because after you get won't ever go back.

    you'll start pulling new licks that you never thought about before.

  16. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 11, 2005
    I'm surprised to read some of the comments here--single notes weren't the problem for me, but fluid strumming is right out with a thumbpick in my experience.

  17. Grin'n'pick

    Grin'n'pick Friend of Leo's

    I changed over and won't go back to a flat pick. After trying lots of types I settled the blue herco (as in my avatar) and have found it to be the best for me. I also grew the nails on my right hand which really made a difference.

  18. DMRoller

    DMRoller Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Grin'n'pick said
    My problem all the time. Thin fingernails. If the nails on my fingers were as thick as the ones on my thumbs, I'd be okay. I wear them down and break them off quite often.

    I also play keyboards, so I can't get them too long or a night of playing will probably roll at least one of my right nails over and crack it.



  19. Darrell

    Darrell Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Rule of thumb...for me

    I find that lead playing with the thumb pick and fingers is best. It is easier for those alternate string, Merle Travis type work.

    BUT I find it MUCH more difficult to become a good rythym player with the ole thumb pick and fingers method. To ME...THAT is the real challenge.

    Rythym playing use to be a snap when I was a flat picker.

  20. crazyjosh

    crazyjosh TDPRI Member

    Nov 4, 2005
    Tallahassee, FL
    twangle-langin' fingers..

    eh, i tried to throwdown on some thumb pick but it was a no-go for me..

    i actually have formed a wierd hybrid style of picking with my pick, a finger pick on my middle finger and plucking with my thumb! it works out pretty good for me. every so often i will flat pick but usually its more comfortable for me to chickenpick and sidepick that ****..

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